Lake Frank Trail Connector

Division: Park Development
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Project Description

This project is located within Rock Creek Regional Park and will connect the Rock Creek Hiker-Biker Trail to the trail system on the east side of Lake Frank.  This 0.5 mile connector will follow the alignment of an existing natural surface trail that runs along the east side of the park. The project is an Intercounty Connector (ICC) stewardship project which is being designed and constructed by the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA).


The 1998 Countywide Park Trails Plan recommended expanding the Rock Creek Hiker-Biker trail system through parkland to provide a continuous park trail system that would extend from the C&O Canal in Georgetown northward to Olney and the Patuxent River.  The plan (and subsequent revisions to the plan) aligned the eastern portion of the trail system through Rock Creek Regional Park on the east side of Lake Frank, extending to Muncaster Mill Road, the ICC bikeway, and Route 108.  Segments of the northern portions of the trail system near Olney have already been constructed or are currently being developed.

As part of the construction of the ICC, SHA is required to implement stewardship projects.  In May 2006, the Record of Decision (ROD) included a project to remove abandoned asphalt roads and parking lots that exist along the east side of Lake Frank, develop an 8-10 foot wide paved trail from the existing road and parking lot paving, and provide turf and tree plantings as a buffer.  This project would implement part of the proposed hiker-biker trail system in the Upper Rock Creek trail corridor.  In 2007, during the planning process for the trail corridor, staff suggested that there may be alternative projects at Lake Frank that might enhance recreational benefits to the community.  The pavement removal provides aesthetic benefits, but does not add to the existing trail system or result in significant water quality benefit, since the parking lot drains into the Lake Frank flood control structure rather than directly into a stream or tributary.

A community meeting for the trail corridor plan was held in 2007, and staff presented several alternative ICC stewardship projects at Lake Frank from the 2000 Rock Creek Park Master Plan.  The consensus was to substitute the parking lot paving project with a project that would provide an accessible paved trail connection from the existing Rock Creek Trail to the trail system on the east side of Lake Frank.  A community member recommended an alignment for this connector along an existing natural surface trail within the park.  Staff investigated this alignment and recommended it as the preferred trail connector alignment in the Upper Rock Creek Trail Corridor Plan.   The Corridor Plan was approved by the Montgomery County Planning Board on September 25, 2008.  The description of the project in the ICC Record of Decision was modified to substitute the connector project for the paving project, and this modification was approved by the Federal Highway Administration on November 25, 2008.

Status/Project Update

The Lake Frank Trail Connector is open public use.

Calendar and Meeting Notes

Opportunities for public participation are shown below.  Links to review project information will be attached to each applicable calendar event as it is scheduled and completed.

May 11, 2010
Community Meeting to review design of trail. Click hereto view presentation Shady Grove Maintenance Facility
16641 Crabbs Branch Way
Rockville, MD 20855
June 10, 2010
Scheduled for evening, please check Planning Board web site for updates to scheduled time of item
Planning Board approved Mandatory Referral 5-0 M-NCPPC (MRO Auditorium)
8787 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Spring 2011 Detailed design will be completed and the project bid for construction
Fall 2012 Connector open

M-NCPPC Staff Contact

Marian Elsasser, Project Manager

For Construction Questions Contact

State Highway Administration (SHA)

Last Updated: July 18, 2017